Your entire residence should be a refuge that’s warm and toasty in the winter season and cool and comfortable in the summer. However, owners of some two-story homes find the upper floor is stubbornly hotter or colder than the first floor.
This could simply be because most thermostats in a house are on the main floor, which is where people spend the greatest amount of time—in the living room, kitchen, etc.—so it makes sense to set the temperature according to how it feels on the first floor.
However, temperature discrepancies between the upstairs and downstairs could also be because of problems with your HVAC system. Some of these challenges can be solved relatively quickly while others might necessitate more extensive and costly fixes. Here, the team at Olde Towne Heating & Air will help you determine why the upstairs of your home is hotter than downstairs, or vice versa.
Why Is It Hotter Upstairs?
The phenomenon of the upstairs of a two-story home getting hotter than the downstairs can be chalked up to several factors. For starters, heat rises, so it’s natural for the second floor of a home to get hotter than the ground floor. Lack of insulation in the attic or roof can exacerbate this issue by permitting heat transfer from the roof into the upstairs rooms.
Another common reason is that the air conditioning is not strong enough to cool the entire home, causing it to struggle to cool the upstairs properly.
To fix these issues, homeowners could put in extra insulation in the attic and make sure their home has sufficient ventilation. If there’s a possibility the AC is the right size for the home, call an experienced HVAC company like Olde Towne Heating & Air inspect the unit. A skilled professional also can help find a unit that's better suited for your home if you need air conditioning installation or replacement.
Why Is My Upstairs Colder/Not Heating?
When the downstairs of your home is warm, but it’s freezing upstairs, that could result in a very chilly night for anyone whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. The most common causes of an upstairs not heating like it is supposed to are the insulation levels and the ductwork.
Inadequate insulation enables cold air to leak through the home’s attic or walls and contribute to heat loss, resulting in colder temperatures upstairs. It’s crucial to make sure your home has a deep, level layer of insulation in the attic and proper insulation in the walls to keep the cold out and the heat inside.
The ductwork in a home plays a very important role in distributing conditioned air throughout different areas of the building. However, issues with the ductwork can contribute to the upstairs being colder than the downstairs. A frequently reported explanation for this is improper airflow balance. The ducts may not be the correct size or design, resulting in an uneven distribution of air between the floors. This can cause more warm air to go downstairs, causing insufficient airflow—which is the heated air—on the upper level.
Another factor with ductwork is the layout of the supply and return vents. If there are fewer vents on the upper floor or they aren't well installed, it can restrict air circulation and cause substandard heating or cooling. Additionally, leaks or gaps in the ductwork can lead to air loss, reducing the overall efficiency of the HVAC system and making the temperature difference more pronounced.
To find out why the upstairs is colder than the downstairs, homeowners should hve their ductwork examined by skilled professionals like the team at Olde Towne Heating & Air to identify any imbalances, leaks or inadequacies. Sealing leaks and installing additional vents or adjusting existing ones can help enhance airflow and ensure a better temperature balance between the upstairs and downstairs.
What Do I Do to Fix a Hot/Cold Upstairs?
If your upstairs is hotter or colder than the lower floors of your residence, an HVAC zoning system could be a useful solution.
An HVAC zoning system breaks the residence into distinctive zones, which each have their own thermostat and damper system so the homeowner can customize the heating or cooling of each zone.
This system can be particularly helpful in situations where the upstairs of a multi-story home is quite hot or really cold while the main floor is comfortable. By implementing a zoning system, homeowners can manage the temperature independently in each zone, enabling them to address specific hot or cold spots easily.
To learn more about an HVAC zoning system in Mount Pleasant, call Olde Towne Heating & Air. We’ve designed and installed customized home comfort plans for many community members and are happy to show how an HVAC zoning system could benefit your home.
Why Is it So Humid Upstairs?
In addition to the upper story being hotter or colder than the rest of the house, another problem in multi-floor homes is when the upper floors are more humid than the first floor.
A typical cause for excess upper floor humidity is inadequate ventilation on the upper floor, which can cause increased humidity levels. As is often the case with temperature differences between floors, poor insulation or sealing in the attic or walls may let warm, humid air from outdoors infiltrate the upstairs rooms. In addition, if there are any leaks or plumbing issues on the upper floor, that can also create excessive moisture in that area of a home.
To correct humidity problems, homeowners can improve ventilation by installing fans or opening windows to promote airflow. Adding more insulation in the attic and better sealing the attic and walls can help stop external moisture from entering the upstairs. Finding and repairing any leaks or plumbing issues is also extremely important.
Depending on the levels of moisture found in the home, a whole-home dehumidifier could be another useful tool to manage humidity on the upper and lower floors.